Hong Kong stocks end higher amid cautious trade as spotlight shifts to Trump inauguration

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 17 January, 2017, 9:10am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 17 January, 2017, 7:22pm

Hong Kong and mainland stocks stabilised on Tuesday with benchmark gauges rebounding from earlier losses, but investors remain cautious ahead of US president-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration on Friday.

The Shanghai Composite closed 0.17 per cent higher at 3,108.77 reversing from five consecutive days of losses, its longest losing streak since August 2015.

The ChiNext index, a gauge of young companies on the Shenzhen bourse, gained 2.02 per cent to 1,867.87, putting an end to its eight-day slide.

The rebound was led by a 10 per cent rise in heavyweight Leshi Information & Technology Corp, LeEco’s listed arm.

LeEco secured a 15 billion yuan investment from property developer Sunac China Holdings last week, easing concerns over its cash woes.

Kingston Lin King-ham, securities brokerage director at AMTD, said an accelerated pace of new share listings on the mainland was still weighing on markets.

Faster approvals of initial public offerings by Chinese authorities have led to fears of downward pressure on stock prices.

“It is not a major recovery today,” Lin said. “There is a tight capital supply at the moment. We won’t see any big change before the Lunar New Year.”

Hong Kong stocks closed higher on Tuesday despite investor concerns after sterling plunged, hit by mounting fears that British Prime Minister Theresa May will commit Britain to a hard Brexit.

The Hang Seng Index climbed 0.54 per cent points to 22,840.97, while the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index gained 0.37 per cent to 9,702.19 points.

Linus Yip, strategist at First Shanghai Securities, said Hang Seng’s relatively low turnover of HK$50.68 billion reflected cautious sentiment among investors.

“Trump will be on stage this Friday, the market may take a wait-and-see attitude on what will be his policies,” Yip said. “It’s unlikely for the market to have a big rebound before that.”

Lin said the benchmark index could retreat to about 22,500 ahead of Trump’s inauguration.

“There are worries in the market,” he said. “We cannot rule out that Hong Kong would suffer from stronger selling pressure on Thursday and Friday.”

CK Property’s shares rose 2.2 per cent to HK$50.70 after Cheung Kong Property said it will partner with two other Li Ka-shing-controlled firms in a A$7.4 billion deal to acquire Duet Group, an Sydney-listed group which owns energy utility assets in the US and Australia.

Other big moves included a 2.2 per cent jump from Sinopec Corp and a 1.7 per cent rise from Cathay Pacific Airways.

The stabilisation also came after the International Monetary Fund upgraded its growth forecast for China’s economy in 2017 to 6.5 per cent, 0.3 percentage point higher than its October forecast.

Chinese president Xi Jinping said during a meeting with Swiss officials that China’s GDP growth for 2016 was 6.7 per cent, missing the government’s target but the highest among the world’s major economies.

In Japan, the benchmark Nikkei index dropped 1.48 per cent to 18,813.53 with investors awaiting Theresa May’s speech later Tuesday in London about the plan to withdraw from the European Union.

The pound fell as much as 1.5 per cent against the US dollar and 2.5 per cent against the yen on Monday, according to Reuters. It was the currency’s worst one-day drop in 32 years, excluding the flash crash in October 2016.

US markets were closed on Monday for the Martin Luther King public holiday.